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1Cor. 7:36-38

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  • Paul Miller
    Would some of you crosstalkers with some Greek savvy let me know exactly what Paul means in 1Cor. 7:36-38? Below is the NASV and then the RSV translation.
    Message 1 of 9 , Jun 5, 1998
      Would some of you crosstalkers with some Greek savvy let me know
      exactly what Paul means in 1Cor. 7:36-38? Below is the NASV and then the
      RSV translation.

      36But if any man thinks that he is acting unbecomingly toward his virgin
      daughter, if she is past her youth, and if it must be so,
      let him do what
      he wishes, he does not sin; let [1]her marry.
      37But he who stands firm in his heart, [2]being under no
      constraint, but
      has authority [3]over his own will, and has decided this in
      his own
      heart, to keep his own virgin daughter, he will do well.
      38So then both he who gives his own virgin daughter in marriage
      does
      well, and he who does not give her in marriage will do
      better.



      [1]Lit them
      [2]Lit having no necessity
      [3]Lit pertaining to


      36If any one thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his
      betrothed, if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let
      him do as he
      wishes: let them marry--it is no sin.
      37But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no
      necessity
      but having his desire under control, and has determined this
      in his
      heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well.
      38So that he who marries his betrothed does well; and he who
      refrains
      from marriage will do better.


      Does virgin daughter mean betrothed?


      Paul Miller
    • Jim West
      ... [The following should be understood as my own comments on the text, and are intended, in no way, to attempt to speak for all NT scholars] Below is the
      Message 2 of 9 , Jun 5, 1998
        At 10:57 AM 6/5/98 -0500, you wrote:
        >Would some of you crosstalkers with some Greek savvy let me know
        >exactly what Paul means...[snipped]

        > Does virgin daughter mean betrothed?
        >
        >
        > Paul Miller

        [The following should be understood as my own comments on the text, and are
        intended, in no way, to attempt to speak for all NT scholars]

        Below is the greek text. To appreciate what Paul here describes we need to
        remember, first, that Paul and the Corinthians had a lively expectation that
        the Parousia (2nd coming) of Christ would happen soon. In light of this,
        the Corinthians wondered if it was appropriate to marry, etc. Further, they
        practiced a sort of "virginism" whereby certain young ladies were set aside
        and kept "pure" so that when Messiah re-appeared they would be the "cream of
        the crop" (greatly simplified, but you get the idea).

        So, when Paul responds to the Corinthians' questions:


        1 Cor 7:36 EI DE TIS ASXHMONEIN EPI THN PARQENON AUTOU NOMIZEI EAN H
        UPERAKMOS KAI OUTWS OFEILEI GINESQAI O QELEI POIEITW OUX AMARTANEI
        GAMEITWSAN -37 OS DE ESTHKEN EN TH KARDIA AUTOU EDRAIOS MH EXWN ANAGKHN
        ECOUSIAN DE EXEI PERI TOU IDIOU QELHMATOS KAI TOUTO KEKRIKEN EN TH IDIA
        KARDIA THREIN THN EAUTOU PARQENON KALWS POIHSEI -38 WSTE KAI O GAMIZWN THN
        EAUTOU PARQENON KALWS POIEI KAI O MH GAMIZWN KREISSON POIHSEI

        v 36 ei de... indicates that Paul is here responding to a question posed by
        them. No, it is not a sin to take the girl you have set aside as a vestal
        virgin, and allow her to marry.

        v. 37 But, neither is it a sin to keep her in a state of purity.

        v. 38 Thus, whether you marry or not is immaterial.

        Again, in the lively days of the mid 50's of the first century when
        expectation was high that jesus would return, there were lots of problems
        created by that expectation. Paul here simply says, "keep living in the
        present and let the future take care of itself".

        Best,

        Jim

        +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
        Jim West, ThD
        Adjunct Professor of Bible
        Quartz Hill School of Theology

        jwest@...
      • Stevan Davies
        ... This isn t B-Greek, it s crosstalk where things are loose. I too want to know where this virginism notion is supposed to be found in Paul. ... Wrong.
        Message 3 of 9 , Jun 5, 1998
          > It is probably out of B-Greek bounds to do so, but I feel I have to call
          > Jim on this one. But, first, what is your evidence for this pracice of
          > "virginism"?

          This isn't B-Greek, it's crosstalk where things are loose. I too want
          to know where this "virginism" notion is supposed to be found in
          Paul.

          > Replies off list are probably best.

          Wrong. Reply on-list. This is an actual point for discussion and
          not the recent bitching and whining and so should be encouraged.

          Steve
        • Jim West
          At 10:51 AM 6/5/98 -0700, you wrote: ... I am sure you mean crosstalk. As you know, I am presently persona non grata on b-greek for a little while. And, as
          Message 4 of 9 , Jun 5, 1998
            At 10:51 AM 6/5/98 -0700, you wrote:

            Again, I reiterate:

            >> [The following should be understood as my own comments on the text, and are
            >> intended, in no way, to attempt to speak for all NT scholars]
            >
            >It is probably out of B-Greek bounds to do so, but I feel I have to call
            >Jim on this one.

            I am sure you mean crosstalk. As you know, I am presently persona non grata
            on b-greek for a little while.

            And, as long as you don't call me late for supper, I don't care what you
            call me! :)

            >But, first, what is your evidence for this pracice of
            >"virginism"?
            >

            See TDNT vol 5, p. 836. #3- parqenos in the Ascetic Sense. "Parthenos
            seems to have a specific ascetic sense in 1 C. 7:34, 36-38 and also in v. 25
            (perhaps of both women and men) amd v. 28. The reference is to women in the
            community who have agreed to set up house with a man in order that they may
            acheive the ideal of Christian asceticism in economic independence. Almost
            insuperable philological difficulties prevent us from seeing here a
            reference to unmarried daughters" (contra Jeff Gibson, here). See
            further J. Weiss, I Kor.

            >Second, where is an expectation of a imminent parousia evident in chpt.
            >7?

            I agree that it is not explicit in ch 7- but it is made explicit in the 15th
            chapter, which, I would suggest, must be taken into account. That is, we
            must have the whole in mind when we examine the parts.

            >If it is the main assumption here, why does not Paul take the time to
            >disabuse the Corinthians of that notion?

            But that is exactly what he is doing.

            > It seems to me that the trying
            >times Paul refers to as the reason he thinks it would be wise for a
            >father not to give his daughter in marriage (or for a bethrothed male
            >not to marry his bethrothed, if we accept your reading of the text) are
            >simply those being experienced in Corinth due to an unsettled political
            >situation.

            But what unsettled situation? We are in the midst of the Pax Romana. What
            political situation is it you have in mind? Is it only at Corinth that
            things are politically uncertain? Where in the letter does Paul address
            such political concerns?

            >
            >In any case, the issue stands or falls (I think) on how one interprets
            >GAMIZW.
            >

            I think that is too narrow. The context, here as everywhere, is of ultimate
            significance. By context, of course, I mean political, archaeological,
            social, and theological as well as textual.

            >Replies off list are probably best.
            >

            nah. Since the questions were posed on list it is always proper to resond
            on list.

            >Yours,
            >
            >Jeffrey
            >

            Best, as ever,


            Jim
            +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
            Jim West, ThD
            Adjunct Professor of Bible
            Quartz Hill School of Theology

            jwest@...
          • Jeffrey B. Gibson
            ... Paul, First off, you ll want to note that there was a discussion on this some time ago here on B-Greek. You may, therefore, want to consult the archives to
            Message 5 of 9 , Jun 5, 1998
              Paul Miller wrote:
              >
              > Would some of you crosstalkers with some Greek savvy let me know
              > exactly what Paul means in 1Cor. 7:36-38? Below is the NASV and then the
              > RSV translation.
              >
              > 36But if any man thinks that he is acting unbecomingly toward his virgin
              > daughter, if she is past her youth, and if it must be so,
              > let him do what
              > he wishes, he does not sin; let [1]her marry.
              > 37But he who stands firm in his heart, [2]being under no
              > constraint, but
              > has authority [3]over his own will, and has decided this in
              > his own
              > heart, to keep his own virgin daughter, he will do well.
              > 38So then both he who gives his own virgin daughter in marriage
              > does
              > well, and he who does not give her in marriage will do
              > better.
              >
              > [1]Lit them
              > [2]Lit having no necessity
              > [3]Lit pertaining to
              >
              > 36If any one thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his
              > betrothed, if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let
              > him do as he
              > wishes: let them marry--it is no sin.
              > 37But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no
              > necessity
              > but having his desire under control, and has determined this
              > in his
              > heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well.
              > 38So that he who marries his betrothed does well; and he who
              > refrains
              > from marriage will do better.
              >
              > Does virgin daughter mean betrothed?
              >
              >

              Paul,

              First off, you'll want to note that there was a discussion on this some
              time ago here on B-Greek. You may, therefore, want to consult the
              archives to see what was said there.

              Second, my answer - based on a throrough discussion of the passage by
              J.D. Derrett (in, I think, his first vol. of _Law in NT_ studies) and
              conversations with George Caird, is nope. It means "daughter". The
              passage in Derrett's and Caird's view (though not Conzelmann's of Fee's)
              deals with the relieving the pressures that a father feels for not
              having married off his daughter who given her "maturity" (having reached
              marriagible age) should have been married by now. Part of the reasoning
              for this is that the verb GAMIZW used in the passage was soemthing of a
              technical term meaning "to *give* in marriage", not "to marry.".

              If I come up with the specific biblio information on the Derrett
              article, I'll send it to you.

              Yours,

              Jeffrey

              --
              Jeffrey B. Gibson
              7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
              Chicago, Illinois 60626
              e-mail jgibson000@...
              jgibson@...
            • Jeffrey B. Gibson
              ... It is probably out of B-Greek bounds to do so, but I feel I have to call Jim on this one. But, first, what is your evidence for this pracice of
              Message 6 of 9 , Jun 5, 1998
                Jim West wrote:
                >
                > At 10:57 AM 6/5/98 -0500, you wrote:
                > >Would some of you crosstalkers with some Greek savvy let me know
                > >exactly what Paul means...[snipped]
                >
                > > Does virgin daughter mean betrothed?
                > >
                > >
                > > Paul Miller
                >
                > [The following should be understood as my own comments on the text, and are
                > intended, in no way, to attempt to speak for all NT scholars]
                >
                > Below is the greek text. To appreciate what Paul here describes we need to
                > remember, first, that Paul and the Corinthians had a lively expectation that
                > the Parousia (2nd coming) of Christ would happen soon. In light of this,
                > the Corinthians wondered if it was appropriate to marry, etc. Further, they
                > practiced a sort of "virginism" whereby certain young ladies were set aside
                > and kept "pure" so that when Messiah re-appeared they would be the "cream of
                > the crop" (greatly simplified, but you get the idea).
                >
                > So, when Paul responds to the Corinthians' questions:
                >
                > 1 Cor 7:36 EI DE TIS ASXHMONEIN EPI THN PARQENON AUTOU NOMIZEI EAN H
                > UPERAKMOS KAI OUTWS OFEILEI GINESQAI O QELEI POIEITW OUX AMARTANEI
                > GAMEITWSAN -37 OS DE ESTHKEN EN TH KARDIA AUTOU EDRAIOS MH EXWN ANAGKHN
                > ECOUSIAN DE EXEI PERI TOU IDIOU QELHMATOS KAI TOUTO KEKRIKEN EN TH IDIA
                > KARDIA THREIN THN EAUTOU PARQENON KALWS POIHSEI -38 WSTE KAI O GAMIZWN THN
                > EAUTOU PARQENON KALWS POIEI KAI O MH GAMIZWN KREISSON POIHSEI
                >
                > v 36 ei de... indicates that Paul is here responding to a question posed by
                > them. No, it is not a sin to take the girl you have set aside as a vestal
                > virgin, and allow her to marry.
                >
                > v. 37 But, neither is it a sin to keep her in a state of purity.
                >
                > v. 38 Thus, whether you marry or not is immaterial.
                >
                > Again, in the lively days of the mid 50's of the first century when
                > expectation was high that jesus would return, there were lots of problems
                > created by that expectation. Paul here simply says, "keep living in the
                > present and let the future take care of itself".
                >
                It is probably out of B-Greek bounds to do so, but I feel I have to call
                Jim on this one. But, first, what is your evidence for this pracice of
                "virginism"?

                Second, where is an expectation of a imminent parousia evident in chpt.
                7? If it is the main assumption here, why does not Paul take the time to
                disabuse the Corinthians of that notion? It seems to me that the trying
                times Paul refers to as the reason he thinks it would be wise for a
                father not to give his daughter in marriage (or for a bethrothed male
                not to marry his bethrothed, if we accept your reading of the text) are
                simply those being experienced in Corinth due to an unsettled political
                situation.

                In any case, the issue stands or falls (I think) on how one interprets
                GAMIZW.

                Replies off list are probably best.

                Yours,

                Jeffrey

                ---
                Jeffrey B. Gibson
                7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
                Chicago, Illinois 60626
                e-mail jgibson000@...
                jgibson@...
              • Stevan Davies
                ... I do not see where this set up house business is supposed to be in chapter 7. Do you know what they re talking about? ... But isn t 7:29 assumed by
                Message 7 of 9 , Jun 5, 1998
                  > See TDNT vol 5, p. 836. #3- parqenos in the Ascetic Sense. "Parthenos
                  > seems to have a specific ascetic sense in 1 C. 7:34, 36-38 and also in v. 25
                  > (perhaps of both women and men) amd v. 28. The reference is to women in the
                  > community who have agreed to set up house with a man in order that they may
                  > acheive the ideal of Christian asceticism in economic independence. Almost
                  > insuperable philological difficulties prevent us from seeing here a
                  > reference to unmarried daughters" (contra Jeff Gibson, here). See
                  > further J. Weiss, I Kor.

                  I do not see where this "set up house" business is supposed to be in
                  chapter 7. Do you know what they're talking about?

                  > >Second, where is an expectation of a imminent parousia evident in chpt.
                  > >7?
                  >
                  > I agree that it is not explicit in ch 7- but it is made explicit in the 15th
                  > chapter, which, I would suggest, must be taken into account. That is, we
                  > must have the whole in mind when we examine the parts.

                  But isn't 7:29 assumed by virtually everybody to have to do with the
                  parousia?

                  > >If it is the main assumption here, why does not Paul take the time to
                  > >disabuse the Corinthians of that notion?
                  >
                  > But that is exactly what he is doing.

                  Huh?

                  I particularly like the Thomasine = Gnostic statements in 7:31.

                  But otherwise I don't see what the problem is here. Don't get married
                  but it's OK if you do seems to be the gist. Paul's statement that
                  this is his own opinion and not the Lord's necessarily, coupled with
                  the overall propensity to compromise makes me think that Paul
                  is doing what he says, giving his own odd opinion, and that there's
                  no "cult of virginity" or anything of the sort at issue here.

                  Steve
                • Paul Miller
                  ... snip^ ... What insuperable philological difficulties? The NASV text seems to read one way, with daughters in the text, changing the meaning to something
                  Message 8 of 9 , Jun 5, 1998
                    > Almost
                    > insuperable philological difficulties prevent us from seeing here a
                    > reference to unmarried daughters" (contra Jeff Gibson, here).
                    snip^
                    > Jim
                    > +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
                    > Jim West, ThD
                    > Adjunct Professor of Bible
                    > Quartz Hill School of Theology

                    What insuperable philological difficulties? The NASV text seems to read
                    one way, with daughters in the text, changing the meaning to something
                    altogether different than the RSV.

                    36But if any man thinks that he is acting unbecomingly toward his virgin
                    daughter, if she is past her youth, and if it must be so,
                    let him do what
                    he wishes, he does not sin; let [1][THEM]her marry.
                    37But he who stands firm in his heart, [2]being under no
                    constraint, but
                    has authority [3]over his own will, and has decided this in
                    his own
                    heart, to keep his own virgin daughter, he will do well.
                    38So then both he who gives his own virgin daughter in marriage
                    does
                    well, and he who does not give her in marriage will do
                    better.



                    [1]Lit them
                    [2]Lit having no necessity
                    [3]Lit pertaining to

                    Again I must appeal to the Greek folks on the list, what are the
                    meanings of the word unbecomingly in this context?


                    Paul Miller
                  • Jeffrey B. Gibson
                    In response to my question what is your evidence for this pracice of virginism which Jim West posited as explanatory background for the ... I am highly
                    Message 9 of 9 , Jun 5, 1998
                      In response to my question "what is your evidence for this pracice of
                      "virginism" which Jim West posited as explanatory background for the
                      test of 1 Cor. 7:36-38, Jim wrote:
                      >
                      > See TDNT vol 5, p. 836. #3- parqenos in the Ascetic Sense. "Parthenos
                      > seems to have a specific ascetic sense in 1 C. 7:34, 36-38 and also in v. 25
                      > (perhaps of both women and men) amd v. 28. The reference is to women in the
                      > community who have agreed to set up house with a man in order that they may
                      > acheive the ideal of Christian asceticism in economic independence. Almost
                      > insuperable philological difficulties prevent us from seeing here a
                      > reference to unmarried daughters" (contra Jeff Gibson, here). See
                      > further J. Weiss, I Kor.


                      I am highly suspicious of claims which prove their point by using as
                      evidence the very texts they are supposed to be elucidating - which is
                      exactly what we have in this section of the TDNT article. The
                      argumentation is patently circular, and involves reading into the
                      "evidence" exactly what one wants to get out of it. Where is there any
                      *other"* evidence that PARQENOS was used with thus sense?

                      Moreover, this reading of the 1 Cor. text, though popular amongst German
                      commentators, and often parroted by Anglophones, seems to me to be both
                      a recent invention and wholly a scholarly construct. It imbues the
                      passage with assumptions about the politics of marriage which did not
                      exist in first century and/or in which Jews and Greco/Romans did not
                      share (i.e., that marriage was something undertaken by two young folks
                      in love rather than a matter arranged between fathers of households or
                      the father of a prospective bride and a young man). Notice that in the
                      history of scholarship on this passage, it is only after the relatively
                      modern model of who arranges marriages or betrothals arises, that the
                      passage in question gets interpreted as if it speaks of a young man who
                      has the hots for his betrothed and is seeking advice on what to do. Look
                      for instance at how the translators of the KJV (who shared 1st century
                      assumptions about the politics of marriage) render the passage, i.e. as
                      if it speaks of a father who is worried about whether he is acting
                      wrongly toward his daughter in not letting her get married when she
                      should have been by this point in time.

                      Yours,

                      Jeffrey (who according to Bill Pinard, is neither a gentleman nor a
                      scholar)
                      --
                      Jeffrey B. Gibson
                      7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
                      Chicago, Illinois 60626
                      e-mail jgibson000@...
                      jgibson@...
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